This book is awesome. Trungpa's writing style is a little bit quirky, but if you can appreciate the subtle humor, you will enjoy it.
I wish someone ha...moreThis book is awesome. Trungpa's writing style is a little bit quirky, but if you can appreciate the subtle humor, you will enjoy it.
I wish someone had given me this book when I was a teenager. It's like a manual for being an adult--a mature human being living in the world. It cuts straight through our habitual patterns of thought and action, our addiction to comfort, our laziness and our delusions.
Trungpa occasionally delves into esoteric territory (e.g. the chapters on invoking drala, or magic), but for the most part, his message is simple: wake up, be present, have the courage to embrace reality as it is.
Unfortunately, this book might be a little confusing for someone with no prior knowledge of Buddhism, so I can't really recommend it as a beginner book--except to those few with the intelligence and natural curiosity to bear with Trungpa despite his idiosyncratic writing style and tendency to go off on weird little tangents.
In the end, though, this is one of the most direct and challenging books about the spiritual path that I have ever encountered. It is one of those rare books that seems to have a life of its own, its own intelligence and intentionality. Trungpa's motivation--the awakening and liberation of all beings--shines through it like the pole star. For sincere seekers, I can't recommend this book highly enough. It will cut through your bullshit and bring you back to reality--like being punched in the face by a bodhisattva.(less)
I've resisted reading this book for years because so many people have recommended it to me. It was not what I expected. I knew Lamott was a Christian;...moreI've resisted reading this book for years because so many people have recommended it to me. It was not what I expected. I knew Lamott was a Christian; what I didn't know was that she is a little funny and very, very neurotic. Or at least that is how she portrays herself. I think she does it for laughs, but frankly it gets to be a bit too much at times. Still, she comes across as a very humane person, and she has a few wise things to say about writing. This book is, as Lamott would put it, Okay. It contains good advice for those of us who write and who aspire to write. Short, easy assignments, shitty rough drafts, index cards, having someone to read your drafts; knowing these things is worth the price of admission. This book is not the Holy Grail, but like many other books about writing, it is worth reading if you are a writer.(less)
There are at least two reasons why children's books need to be at least as good as grown-up books. The first is in order to help the kids develop good...moreThere are at least two reasons why children's books need to be at least as good as grown-up books. The first is in order to help the kids develop good taste. The second and more important reason is that as an adult, you read these books over and over again, every day, and if they're not really damn good books, you're going to hang yourself from the ceiling fan sooner or later.
That said, this is one of the better children's books in our collection. It's one of my daughter's favorites, and I've read it to her dozens of times now. I like it because of the traditional Zen teaching stories; she likes it because of the panda. Actually, I like the panda, too. Plus, the writing style is simple and elegant, yet playful, for example in turns of phrase like, "He spoke with a slight panda accent." That's my favorite line in the book, probably.
I would happily recommend this book to all parents, children, and anyone who appreciates Zen--as well as all you panda-fanciers out there.
Everything in this book is old news to anyone who has already undertaken "long-term world travel." However, its basic premise is sound, and it would s...moreEverything in this book is old news to anyone who has already undertaken "long-term world travel." However, its basic premise is sound, and it would serve as a good wake-up call for those who have previously limited their travel experiences to the safety, comfort, and ease of--for lack of a better word, tourism, or rather the petty-bourgeois approach to travel.
If I sound like a travel snob, it's because I am. Sorry, no apologies.
Potts's core message is this: get off your duff, forget your luggage and your guidebook, book a cheap ticket to wherever you want to go, and get the fuck lost. Or perhaps Potts is a little more diplomatic about it.
Potts isn't a particularly skilled litterateur, but then again this is basically a self-help book. Probably the best thing about it was Potts's inclusion of a plethora of quotations from more original writers on travel--I managed to add a few books to my to-read list based on his recommendations.
The verdict? Despite my seeming ambivalence, I would easily recommend this book to anyone who has entertained the fantasy of traveling the world. But for those of you who have already been initiated into the art of travel--go read something else. (less)
Nash does a very good job of explaining how to write a Scholarly Personal Narrative for your BA thesis, Master's thesis, or doctoral dissertation. He...moreNash does a very good job of explaining how to write a Scholarly Personal Narrative for your BA thesis, Master's thesis, or doctoral dissertation. He also spends a great deal of time and energy arguing for the validity of this approach. After reading this book, I would definitely consider writing an SPN.
Nash teaches in a professional school of education, so most of his examples come from that field. If you're a student of, say, religion or psychology, you'll need to use your imagination and figure out how this approach could apply to your discipline.
I was somewhat annoyed by Nash's evangelical postmodernism. He seems to place so much value and emphasis on the supposed importance of telling and retelling stories about ourselves in order to create or recreate our identities. From a Buddhist perspective, however, this is what we're doing all the time anyway, and it only leads to suffering. Maybe we need to transcend the self-obsession of the narcissistic postmodern ego and start thinking about how to help other people instead? I suppose that could be done with an SPN (telling your story in order to help others), but many of the examples Nash gives seem to be cases of the authors struggling to use narrative in order to create or maintain a stable sense of self, which might (again, from a Buddhist perspective) be a waste of time.
Overall, though, this is a good and important book and I would recommend it to most undergraduate and graduate students. Just keep in mind the perspective that Nash is coming from and don't let his authorial self-indulgence and postmodernist preaching get to you too much. (less)
I have read this both to my daughter (who loves wild horses) and for a graduate-level course on the psychology of fairy tales. It is now one of my fav...moreI have read this both to my daughter (who loves wild horses) and for a graduate-level course on the psychology of fairy tales. It is now one of my favorite children's books. The story is beautiful--like all true works of myth, it forms a bridge between the two worlds and shows how we humans can live in harmony with Nature and the gods. I also love Paul Goble's illustrations. There is just something satisfying about his use of shape and color. I could let my eyes wander over the pages for hours.
Honestly, I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars. Having invested about 5000 pages of reading in this series, I care about the characters enough to w...moreHonestly, I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars. Having invested about 5000 pages of reading in this series, I care about the characters enough to want to find out what happens to them. But Mr. Martin is just taking too damned long to tell us. I think once you have started reading A Song of Ice and Fire, you might as well read the whole series. If you've read the first four books, and enjoyed them, then of course you should read this one, too. The real question is whether you should start reading the series in the first place.(less)